Legislation

The time has come for unity on the pubs code

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

The time has come for unity on the pubs code

Related tags: Pubs code, Want, English-language films

And so, we now have the pubs code! But for those waiting for the dust to settle and the fighting to stop, I worry that this is a forlorn hope.

While tenant campaigners are celebrating, we’re already hearing phrases like “unworkable” and “serious concerns” being used, particularly around the lack of a transition phase.

I must admit, I too am surprised by the lack of any transition time, particularly considering the late delivery of the finalised pubs code. It doesn’t give people much time to get their house in order.

However, that said, the writing has been on the wall for sometime now, and the pub companies have been making a great deal of noise about how they have been putting things right, so surely not much work would be required to comply with the finer details of the code?

Of course, the furore around the appointment of the adjudicator probably hasn’t helped with the speedy delivery of the pubs code, with staff tasked with delivering the code probably being distracted and sidetracked in defence of the decision to appoint a man with experience and knowledge of the issues of which he’ll be adjudicating…
but I digress.

Let’s be thankful. The code is almost here and we now have a good degree of clarity (well, unless the ongoing arguments force a political U-turn) on what the shape of the sector looks like going forward.

As someone who came in right in the middle of all this, I can’t help but think that, now the decisions have been made, right or wrong, we can start to move forward.

Yes, the pubcos will wish they had some time to implement the necessary changes, but perhaps a tighter deadline might sharpen their focus and push them to make those changes a bit more robustly.

As Government minister Anna Soubry points out, they knew what was coming and should have been planning accordingly. A grace period would potentially just allow for further procrastination — and let’s be honest — we all just want to get on with it now!

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to repeat it, we need to draw a line under the past and move forward. Now is a great opportunity for us to do that. Campaigners and pub companies all claim to want the same thing — the survival and success of the UK pub sector. So let’s use the opportunity the code offers to now move forward, working together to achieve that success.

We need to let go of grudges and vendettas, and while I know that isn’t easy for some, people in the trade have to work together to deliver success. Any nursing of hatreds is what will make the situation truly unworkable.

Keith Marsden puts it brilliantly when he says that the campaigners have “won the war”, but now it’s time to “win the peace”.

I would echo that call — let’s all now work together and support the brilliant, diverse and exciting sector that is the UK pub industry.

Related topics: Legislation

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